Electives Made Easy

Next week I'll meet with the other twenty students in my rotation group to choose where we'll be spending our third year. Already, it's become clear that each of us will have to make sacrifices. Not everyone can do surgery at the academic mecca down the road, and someone has to spend December catching pertussis from kids in northwest Pennsylvania. I've spent more than a few hours agonizing over my preferences, weighing the benefits of one hospital's huge patient volume with another's beach house provided for visiting students. That's right, a beach house. Over the next two years, we'll have a half-dozen electives rotation months that we can spend anywhere in the world, doing anything we want. Most of these will be spent "auditioning" at the places we hope to complete our residencies, but nearly everyone has the dream of spending at least a month experiencing another country's healthcare system. Whether it's working with the incredible DO Care clinic in Guatemala, treating families in the Philippines, or discovering the National Health Service in the UK, we're all excited for such an opportunity.

I've already been checking ticket prices into Phnom Penh. But getting connected with the rotation of your dreams isn't always easy. Jess had a tough time finding a rotation within just the United States, and I can only imagine what cold-calls in broken Spanish are worth to program directors in Madrid. Afortunadamente, I was recently introduced to a a site that makes it a lot easier. For more than a decade The Electives Network has helped tens of thousands of medical students plan their elective placements. TEN can help you find your dream elective, anywhere from a remote clinic in the jungles of Papua New Guinea to a cutting-edge hospital amongst the sky scrapers of Manhattan. I spent more than an hour this evening perusing the site. Besides listing thousands of electives in hundreds of countries around the world, they also have a key feature that I found extremely helpful student reviews that give you a true insight into that elective you've been eyeing in Burundi or Portugal.

I even used the interactive planner to see what would be available for a friend who had mentioned wanting to rotate in Italy. The Electives Network isn't paying me to write this, nor do I get some awesome free trip to London (though I wouldn't say no). I truly found that it's a fantastic resource for medical students hoping to broaden their horizons a bit. After a life-changing experience in Cambodia, it's clear to me that such an international opportunity can be a critical building block in medical education. So I got in contact with Halina Malone at TEN and we were able to put together something to help students develop the elective they've always wanted. By signing up and selecting Little White Coats as your medical school (awesome, I know), they're doubling everyone's membership length giving you the time to make sure you're planning your perfect rotation. Once again, The Electives Network is not paying me to advertise for them, I just wanted to pass along a great resource. If you find your dream elective, I'd love to hear about it! Dibs on the Hems elective in London, though.